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THE MARCH ON SAVANNAH.
ger, cold, and cruel treatment, in the midst of plenty, and in which seven hundred and fifty had died, made the blood of their living companions-inarms course more quickly in their veins, because of indignation, and nerved them to the performance of every service required to crush the wicked rebellion. These captives had all been removed, no one then knew whither, and were suffering in other prisons with equal severity.
The army now pushed vigorously on among swamps and sands, with the city of Savannah, where General Hardee was in command, as the chief objective. Howard, with the Fifteenth Corps (Osterhaus), moved down the southern side of the Ogeechee, with instructions to cross it near Eden Station, in Bryan County, while the Seventeenth (Blair) moved along the railway. Slocum, with the Twentieth (Williams), marched in the middle road, by way of Springfield, and the Fourteenth (Davis), along the Savannah River road. The latter was closely followed by Wheeler, but Kilpatrick and Baird gallantly covered the rear of the moving columns between the Ogeechee and Savannah rivers. While there was frequent skirmishing, and fallen trees and other obstructions were met everywhere, no enemy in force was seen anywhere, until the heads of columns were within fifteen miles of the city of Savannah. All the roads leading into that town were obstructed by felled trees, earth-works, and artillery. These were easily turned and the foe expelled, and by the 10th of December the Confederates were driven within their lines,' and Savannah was completely beleagured. Sherman forbore making an immediate attack, for the only approaches to the city were by five narrow causeways, all of which were commanded by heavy guns that were too much for the light field-pieces of the Nationals. The military force in the city was unknown, and so Sherman gave orders to closely invest the place, while he should open communication with the Government fleet, which he knew was waiting for him in the waters not far from Savannah.
On approaching Savannah, General Slocum had seized the Charleston railway, at the bridge, and General Howard had broken up and occupied the Gulf railroad for some distance to the Little Ogeechee, so that no supplies could reach the city by the accustomed channels of communication. Sherman's army was well supplied, and had the open country behind it, yet he deemed communication with the fleet of vital importance, and desired the possession of the Ogeechee as a proper avenue of future supply for his troops, from the sea. He therefore ordered Kilpatrick to cross the Ogeechee on a pontoon bridge, reconnoiter Fort McAllister, that commanded it below the railway, and proceeding to Sunbury, open communication with the fleet. Howard had already sent a scout (Captain Duncan) in a canoe down the Ogeechee for the same purpose. Finally, on the 13th,“ Sherman ordered General Hazen to carry Fort McAllister by assault with
December, his second division of the Fifteenth Corps. That active officer at once crossed the Ogeechee at King's Bridge, and by one o'clock on that day his force was deployed in front of Fort McAllister, a strong inclosed redoubt,
1 These lines followed substantially a swampy creek, which emptied into the Savannah River three miles above the city, and across to the bend of a corresponding stream which emptied into the Little Ogeechee River. These streains, bordered by swamps and rice-fields flooded at high water, formed excellent fanks for the Confederates.
These were for two railways, and the Augusta, Louisville, and Ogeechee dirt roads.
CAPTURE OF FORT MOALLISTER.
garrisoned by two hundred men, under Major Anderson, artillery and infantry, and having one mortar and twenty-three guns en barbette.
At about this time Sherman and Howard reached Cheves's rice-mill, used as a signal station, where, for two days the officer in charge had been looking anxiously in the direction of Ossabaw Sound, for a Government steamer. Hazen and Fort McAllister were then exchanging shots, the former with the hope of thereby attracting the attention of the fleet. With their glasses the two commanders could see Hazen's skirmishers approach the fort, and very soon that leader signaled that he had invested it. Then Sherman signaled back that it was important to capture it at once. Meanwhile the smoke-stack of a steamer had been seen in the dim distance, at the mouth of the Ogeechee. The vessel soon appeared, and signaled that she had been sent by General Foster and Admiral Dahlgren to communicate with the National army, but was in doubt whether Fort McAllister was in the hands of friends or foe.'
That doubt was soon removed. Hazen had signaled back to Sherman, “I am ready and will assault at once.” He did so. It was toward evening of a beautiful day. His bugles sounded a charge, and over abatis and every other obstruction his troops swept impetuously, in the face of a heavy storm of grape and canister shot, up to the parapets and over them, fighting hand to hand, and after a brief but desperate struggle won a victory. Before sunset Fort McAllister, its garrison and armament, were in the hands of the Nationals, the Union flag was planted upon it, and the way was opened to the sea.
The triumph was gained at the cost of ninety patriots killed and wounded. The Confederates lost nearly fifty men.
Sherman saw the entire conflict from the rice-mill; and when the smoke floated
away, and the National flag was seen waving over the redoubt, and the shouts and feu de joie of the victors were heard, he entered a boat, and with Howard, was rowed quickly down to Fort McAllister, unmindful of the danger of torpedo explosions in the river. He tarried there a moment to offer congratulations to Hazen, and then pushed on to meet the tug, from which he had received a message by signal. She was the Dandelion, whose commander, Captain Williamson, told Howard that his scout, Captain Duncan, had passed the fort and communicated with Foster and Dahlgren, whom he then hourly expected in Ossabaw Sound.
The capture of Fort McAllister was a brilliant ending of the Great EVACUATION OF SAVANNAII.
1 General Foster was in command of the coast islands of South Carolina when Sherman ras engaged in his Georgia campaign, and he was directed to make a demonstration in his favor, when, as it was expected, he would approach Pocolaligo, on the Charleston and Savannah railway, between the two cities, at the close of November. He could spare only 5,000 men from his various garrisons, for this purpose, and at the head of these he ascended the Broad River on steamers, and landed at Boyd's Neck on the 30th of November. From that point he sent General J. P. Hatch to seize the railway near Grahamsville. Having missed bis way, Hatch did not reach his destination till the next morning, when he was met by a strong Confederate force intrenched on a hill covering Grahamsville and the road. This position he assailed, when an obstinate fight ensued, which resulted in his defeat, and retreat at evening, with a loss of 746 men. Foster then sent General E. E. Potter, with
two brigades, across the Coosawhatchie, to Deraux Neck, when he advanced and seized a position" # Dec. 6, within cannon range of the railway, which he fortified and firmly held until the remainder of 1964. Foster's column came up to his help. It was here that the commanding general first heard, on
the 12th of December, of Sherman being before Savannah, when he hastened to meet him, as recorded in the text. By direction of Sherman, he held on to the position near the Charleston and Savannah railway, and after Hardee fled to Charleston he took possession of and occupied the Confederate works at Poor talígo, and at the railway crossings of the Tullifinny and Coos3whatchie rivers.
? A novel way for scaling the parapets was exhibited in this assault. The front line of soldiers rushed forward and leaped into the ditch, and their shoulders formed a bridge for those who followed.
. Dec. 14,
March from the Chattahoochee to the sea, and crowned General Hazen with an unfading chaplet of honor. It opened to Sherman's army a new base of supplies; and it was a chief cause of the speedy fall of Savannah, for the soldiers in that city, amazed by the seeming rashness and yet perfect success of the assault, felt that it would be a useless waste of life to attempt to defend it against such assailants. The citizens shared in this feeling, and many of them, accompanied by the mayor and aldermen of the city, waited upon General Hardee, at his head-quarters in Oglethorpe Barracks, and insisted upon his surrender of the post.
After putting into Captain Williamson's hands communications for Foster, Dahlgren, and the War Department, Sherman returned to Fort McAllister, and lodged that night; and early the next morning" he met General Foster, who
HABDEE'S HEAD-QUARTER8.1 had come up the Ogeechee in the steamer Nemaha, during the night. He accompanied that officer to Ossabaw Sound, where, at noon, they had an interview with Admiral Dahlgren, on board the Harvest Moon. Sherman made arrangements for Foster to send him some heavy siege-guns from Hilton Head, wherewith to bombard Savannah, and with Dahlgren, for engaging the forts below the city during the assault. On the following day he returned to
Dec. 15. his lines.
Several 30-pounder Parrott guns reached Sherman on the 17th, when he summoned Hardee to surrender. He refused. Three days afterward, Sherman left for Hilton Head, to make arrangements with Foster for preventing a retreat of Hardee toward Charleston, if he should attempt it, leaving Slocum to get the siege-guns into proper position. Unfavorable winds and tides detained him, and on the 21st, while in one of the inland passages with which that coast abounds, he was met by Captain Dayton in a tug, bearing the news that during the previous dark and windy night, Hardee had fled from Savannah with fifteen thousand men, crossed the river on a pontoon bridge, and was in full march on Charleston ; also, that the National troops were in possession of the Confederate lines, and advancing into Savannah without opposition. The story was true. Hardee's movement had been unsuspected by the National pickets. Under cover of a heavy cannonade during the day and evening of the 20th, he had destroyed two iron-clads, several smaller vessels, the navy yard, and a large quantity of ammunition, ordnance stores, and supplies of all kinds. Then
* This was the appearance of the large brick building on the corner of Bull and Harris streets, Savannah, known as Oglethorpe Barracks, as it appeared when the writer sketched it in April, 1866. This was the military head-quarters of the Confederates in Savannah, from the beginning of the war.
· The first vessel that passed Fort McAllister from the sea, was the mail-steamer bearing Colonel Markland and twenty tons of letters and papers for the officers and men of Sherman's army.-See page 225, volume II.
THE NATIONAL TROOPS IN SAVANNAH.
he fled in such haste that he did not spike his guns, nor destroy a vast amount of cotton belonging to the Confederacy, stored in the city. He was beyond pursuit when his flight was discovered. Our troops immediately took possession, the Twentieth Corps marching first into the city, and on
the morning of the 22d,“
General Sherman, who had hastened back, rode into the town, and made his head-quarters at the fine residence of Charles Green, on Macon Street, opposite St. John's Church.' On the 26th he sent a dispatch to President Lincoln, saying: “I beg to present to you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.” The President replied, thanking Sherman for his gift,
and giving to him all the honor. The Government, he said, was “anxious, if not fearful,” when he was about to leave Atlanta for the coast. “I believe none of us,” said Mr. Lincoln, “ went further than to acquiesce.”
So ended in perfect success, and vast advantage to the National cause, Sherman's autumn campaign in Georgia—his marvelous march to the sea. In that march, of two hundred and fifty-five miles in the space of six weeks, during which he made a substantial conquest of Georgia, he lost only five hundred and sixty-seven men. His entire army, of over sixty-five thousand
? men and ten thousand horses, had lived generously off the country, having appropriated to their use thirteen thousand beeves, one hundred and sixty thousand bushels of corn, more than five thousand tons of fodder, besides a large number of sheep, swine, fowls, potatoes and rice. He forced into the service five thousand horses and four thousand mules. He captured thirteen hundred and twenty-eight prisoners, and one hundred and sixty-seven guns; burned twenty thousand bales of cotton, and captured and secured to the Government twenty-five thousand bales. Full ten thousand negroes followed the flag to Savannah, and many thousand others, mostly women and children, had been driven back at the crossings of rivers, and denied the privilege. The pathway of Sherman's march averaged about forty miles in width, and by his admirable strategy in bewildering his foe, he made that march with ease and with abundant success.
Let us leave the victorious army in repose at Savannah, while we con
i General Howard's quarters were at the house of Mr. Molyneaux, late British consul at Savannah. Slocum's were at the residence of John E. Ward; and General Geary, who was appointed commander of the post, had bis office in the bank building next door to the Custom House.
? Of these, 63 were kiiled, 245 wounded, and 159 missing.
* In his report, Sherinan said: “I estimate the damage done to the State of Georgia and its military resources, at $100,000,000 at least-$20,000,000 of which has inured to our advantage, and the remainder is simple waste and destruction. This may seem a hard species of warfare, but it brings the sad realities of war home to those who have been directly or indirectly instrumental in involving us in its attendant calamities.” In Sherman's estimate of destruction above given, must be included over two hundred miles of railroads destroyed.
RAIDS IN THE MISSISSIPPI REGION.
. Nov. 25,
sider the fortunes of the strong and co-operating force assigned to General Thomas for the defense of Tennessee against Hood. Before doing so, let us take a brief glance at some operations by National troops, sent out from the Lower Mississippi, to prevent the concentration of forces west of Georgia against Sherman during his march to the sea.
One of these expeditions, composed of mounted men, was led by General Dana, who went out from Vicksburg, fought and vanquished Confederates on the Big Black River, and destroyed several miles of the railway connecting New Orleans with Tennessee, with its bridges and rolling stock, much cotton and valuable stores. Another cavalry expedition, led by General Davidson, was sent out from Baton Rouge, and struck the same railway at Tangipaha," laying waste its track and other property. Then Davidson pushed on eastward, in the direction of Mobile, almost to the Pascagoula River, causing much alarm for the safety of that city.
Still another expedition, and more important than the two just mentioned, went out from the Mississippi three weeks later. It was sent from Memphis, and was led by General Grierson. His force consisted of thirty-five hundred well-mounted men, and their destination was the Mobile and Ohio railway. Taking a nearly straight course through Northern Mississippi, they struck that road at Tupelo, and destroyed it to Okolona. On the way, Colonel Karge surprised and dispersed, at Verona, a guard over ordnance and supplies destined for Hood's army. These were a-loading in two hundred wagons, which Forrest took from Sturgis in June. Thirty-two cars, eight warehouses filled with supplies, and the wagons, were destroyed.
When he arrived at Okolona, Grierson discovered that the Confederates were in considerable force and well intrenched at Egypt Station, a few miles below; and intercepted dispatches from General Dick Taylor, at Mobile, informed him that re-enforcements were to be given to the garrison immediately. He resolved to attack before they should arrive. He did so at daybreak the next morning, and while the struggle was going on, two trains of cars came up with fresh troops. Grierson quickly repulsed these, and routed the body he at first assailed, numbering about sixteen hundred men. Grierson captured a train, and made about five hundred prisoners. Among the Confederates killed in this engagement was General Gholson, of Mississippi.
Grierson now moved southwestward, distracting his foe by feints. He finally struck the Mississippi Central railroad at Winona Station, and tore up: the track several miles each way, while the Fourth Iowa destroyed cloth and shoe factories at Bankston. This was followed by the defeat of Confederate cavalry under Colonel Wood, at Benton, by Colonel Osband, and the speedy march of the expedition to Vicksburg, with its trophies of five hundred prisoners, eight hundred beeves, and a thousand liberated slaves. It had been a destructive and alarming raid,' and effectually held back Confederate troops from Sherman, in Georgia.
• Dec. 27.
1 See page 247.
? During the raid, Grierson's men destroyed 95 railway cars, 300 wagons, 30 full warehouses, and liberated, by taking them prisoners, 100 Union soldiers who had been famishing in Confederate prisons, and had joined the army with a hope of thus effecting their escape.